Monday, July 21, 2014

Pick 6: Brands, Stories, and Trends Shaping Sports Business #6

FIFA World Cup Championship, MLB All-Star Game, and The Open Championship- Other than that, not much happening in sports this week. Here are six stories that fell just outside the list of big sporting events:

1. Marketing Takeaways from FIFA World Cup

The World Cup was more than a soccer tournament; it was a global water cooler around which people gathered to support their country and follow events in Brazil in real time. Three observations from the World Cup pertain to the influence of Millennials, the lingering specter of racism, and the lives and loves of Latinos. 

2. Adidas Replaces Nike as Manchester United as Kit Supplier

One does not often think of Nike walking away from a partnership because it is too expensive, but that is exactly what it did when deciding not to continue pursuit of a new deal to be Manchester United's kit supplier. The price had become too high, in Nike's estimation. Enter Adidas, which agreed to a 10 year, $`.3 billion agreement with the club that begins next year. What are the motivations for Adidas to enter into such a huge agreement? How will Adidas earn back return on this investment?

Manchester United and Adidas Agree to Richest Uniform Deal Ever, by Mike Ozanian, Forbes

3. Yet More Advice on Pursuing a Career in Sports Business

Advice on how to break into sports and pursue a career seems to be as abundant as grass. Everyone has opinions about what it takes to stand out and succeed. Often, aspiring sports business professionals get mixed signals about what it is important, what they should do to prepare, and so on. Brian Clapp, a sports media veteran, discusses six myths about sports business careers. 

4. SEC Network Signs Important Distribution Agreement

The SEC Network is scheduled to launch in less than one month (August 14th). While most ingredients are present for a successful product (avid fans, wide market reach, and a tremendous amount of content, to name three), one key variable for which work remains to be done is distribution. Fans, reach, and content do a product little good if it cannot get into the hands of the audience who values it. The SEC Network took a major step toward removing the distribution barrier by reaching agreement with Comcast Xfinity to carry the new channel. Two significant distribution points remain to be sold- DirecTV (20 million subscribers) and Time Warner Cable (11 million subscribers). At this point, does the SEC Network have market penetration via its carriage agreements that it can do just fine without DirecTV and Time Warner Cable?

5. Professional Bull Riders Exports to China

The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) has established itself as a solid sports entertainment property over the past twenty years. It branched out from its US base to have a presence in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Mexico. Now, it is planning to extend its reach farther with a venture into China. The large population of China makes it an attractive prospect, but it may not even be the market with greatest potential (Brazil is considered to be very lucrative for PBR). How will PBR prioritize its growth pursuit beyond the US?

6. SEC Takes Page from MLS Playbook

Given the passion for college football and the struggle for soccer to gain acceptance in this country, you may think it is a typo when you read that the Southeastern Conference has looked to Major League Soccer for ideas on how to spark attendance. Some SEC programs have found it challenging to get students to attend games. One MLS club, Sporting Kansas City, has shared with some SEC schools practices on layout of the physical space and how to use data to more effectively market to fans. The article brings out the issue of exploring other ways a sports property can learn from other organizations, either within the industry or outside of sports.